PSRA press release re: Unfair Labor Practices by PRO

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December 17, 2018

For immediate release:

Last week, the Professional Soccer Referees Association (“PSRA”) members covered by the collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”) with the Professional Referee Organization (“PRO”) voted overwhelmingly in favor of a strike authorization. This vote comes on the heels of the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) ruling in favor of PSRA regarding a recent Unfair Labor Practice charge, and provides the PSRA Executive Board with the authority to call a strike to protest PRO’s unfair labor practices and unlawful bargaining tactics.

PSRA’s existing CBA with PRO expires on January 15, 2019. PSRA commenced bargaining toward a new CBA in March of 2018 – starting early in order to provide the parties sufficient opportunity to reach a new and fair agreement before the existing CBA expires.

To the extreme frustration of PSRA members, PRO significantly delayed the negotiations after they commenced, cancelled a multitude of scheduled bargaining dates, and refused to counter PSRA’s proposals in a timely fashion. PSRA expected nothing less than “fair play” from a refereeing company.  Unfortunately, this did not occur.

As a result, in September PSRA filed Unfair Labor Practice charges with Region 2 of the NLRB in response to PRO’s unlawful actions during negotiations toward a new CBA. PSRA’s charges, which alleged PRO “unlawfully delayed and canceled bargaining sessions,” were found to have merit by the NLRB.

PSRA takes this matter very seriously and has no desire to cause unnecessary disruption to the negotiating process. However, the solidarity of the members is clear. We will not stand for the unlawful bargaining tactics by PRO and its main stakeholders – Major League Soccer and the United States Soccer Federation.

For further clarity, PRO’s General Manager, Howard Webb, should not shoulder all the blame for PRO’s delay tactics. It is PSRA’s opinion that Mr. Webb, despite being PRO General Manager, does not control these negotiations on behalf of PRO. If he did, PSRA is confident the parties may have already reached agreement. PSRA is of the opinion that the PRO Board, which has yet to appear at the bargaining table, and PRO’s attorneys are controlling negotiations on behalf of PRO.

PSRA wants nothing more than a fair and lawful playing field for collective bargaining so we may reach a timely agreement, the fruits of which both PSRA and our partner, PRO, can hopefully enjoy well in advance of the 2019 season. “Fair Play!”

The Professional Soccer Referees Association (PSRA) is the certified labor union representing Officials employed by PRO, and is an independent association of referees licensed to officiate the game of soccer by the Canadian Soccer Association (CSA) or the United States Soccer Federation (USSF). PSRA officials referee matches in Major League Soccer (MLS) and other professional soccer leagues within Canada and the United States.

www.refereeassociation.net

Summary:

a. PSRA wants nothing more than a fair and lawful playing field for collective bargaining so we may reach a timely agreement.

b. In an effort to complete a new CBA in a timely manner, PSRA commenced bargaining in March of 2018.

c. In September, PSRA filed Unfair Labor Practice charges with Region 2 of the NLRB in response to PRO’s unlawful actions during negotiations toward a new CBA.

d. The NLRB recently ruled in favor of PSRA regarding an Unfair Labor Practice charge.

e. Officials overwhelmingly passed a strike vote authorization that provides the PSRA Executive Board with the authority to call a strike to protest PRO’s unfair labor practices and unlawful bargaining tactics.

 

For further information, please contact:

Steve Taylor, PSRA President – psra@refereeassociation.net

Ricardo Salazar, PSRA Vice President – psra@refereeassociation.net

Lucas Middlebrook, PSRA Counsel – lmiddlebrook@ssmplaw.com